How to read the Celtic Cross spread

Tarot deck shown is the Rider Waite Smith published by US Games. Photo by Magenta

Ok, this is only our version of the Celtic Cross….everyone has their own way of reading the cards, so there are of course other ways to read the Celtic Cross!

What on earth is a celtic cross tarot spread? 

Perhaps it’s called the Celtic Cross because the position the cards are laid out looks a little bit like a popular religious symbol commonly found in most church yards (or hanging off the end of a necklace). But only barely….

The spread itself is made up of 10 cards and is useful for answering more searching questions that might require a bit more background to unpick or might require a bit of digging into the different factors at play before arriving at some advice. As such, this spread comes with placements for all sorts of wonderful things, like unconscious thoughts or what the outside world might have to do with things. 

It’s possibly one of the more common spreads, but it can be a bit tricky to read at first. Especially as it requires reflecting back on how the cards relate to each other, as well as the question being asked. 

 Card number 1 – This is you or the situation right now. This card is all about what is going on for you right now. It indicates you, or the question being asked about, or what you are thinking, feeling or doing right now.

Card number 2 – What is getting in the way. This card literally goes over the top of the first card. So for us, it means it tells you what is blocking you. Even so-called “good cards” have a shadow side, and this comes out in this position. 

Card number 3 – Your subconscious thoughts. This card shows up any desires, beliefs or feelings that you might not be aware of, but yet powerfully affect the way you’re dealing right now. This card might be quite eye-opening for you, as it probably represents the things you’re keeping to yourself…

Card number 4 –  The recent(ish) past.  This card shows the events, people, thoughts and/or issues from the past that have led to your current situation. Whilst this card speaks to the energy moving into the past, these are things that are probably still affecting you today. This card has a role to play in understanding what is getting in the way (card 2) or your subconscious thoughts (card 3). 

Card number 5 – What you are putting out there. This card represents your conscious attitude, desires, goals and/or what is important to you right now. This is what you are putting your energy towards, or how you are using your energy. It might not match up with the subconscious thoughts in card 3, but it’s how you’re going about your day to day.

Card number 6 – The near(ish) future. This is the direction that things are heading at the moment, so if you do nothing at all this card might be showing you where you’re heading. The card could be read as an advice card, or it might be a big red flag of a warning card. 

Card number 7 – What you are resisting. This card shows up the things you’re not doing, which might be contributing to card number 1 or 2. It represents things you’re running away from, refusing to look at or even afraid of.

Card number 8 – The outside world. This card is all about the outside world, other people and all the stuff that you can’t easily control. It might be useful to look at how card number 8 works with the rest of the cards…is what other people do part of the problem?!

Card number 9 – What you are attracting. This card might be about your hopes, but it might also be about what you are pulling into your life right now. Card 7 and Card 9 are like magnet cards. It’s interesting to see if they are opposing each other, and how they work with the other cards. 

Card number 10 – The final outcome. This card represents one possible outcome based on all the other cards. It is based on what the other cards say, and its useful to compare card 10 to what card 6 says…and likewise, card 7 and 9 and their impact on your current situation at card 1 and 2…… 

As you can see from our version, the cards themselves aren’t “good” or “bad”…the clue as to whether the information in the card is intended to be read positively or negatively is where they appear in the spread.

Here’s a video example of a very quick celtic cross spread on a “what the hell am I doing with my life” question.

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Published by Magenta School of Magick

We are a magick school for spiritually minded people who want advice and resources about, plus training on, using our ‘philosophy and art of affecting intended change through unseen causes’ (known as humanistic magick) in order to make changes that improve their work and lifestyle.

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